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Obesity Linked to Altered Ovarian Follicular Environment

Increased metabolite, C-reactive protein, androgen activity levels may explain poor reproductive outcomes

FRIDAY, Mar. 6 (HealthDay News) -- An altered ovarian follicular environment may help explain why overweight and obese women have more difficulty achieving pregnancy than normal-weight women, according to research published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Rebecca L. Robker, M.D., of the University of Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues studied 96 women who presented at a private infertility clinic, including 33 with a normal body weight (body mass index [BMI], 20-24.9), 31 who were overweight (BMI, 25-29.9) and 32 who were obese (BMI, 30 or above).

The researchers found a linear relationship between increasing BMI and increased levels of follicular fluid insulin, lactate, triglycerides and C-reactive protein, and decreased levels of sex hormone binding globulin. In the granulosa cells of obese women, they also observed modest alterations in the mRNA of the insulin regulated genes CD36 and SR-BI.

"Obese women exhibit an altered ovarian follicular environment, particularly increased metabolite, C-reactive protein and androgen activity levels, which may be associated with poorer reproductive outcomes typically observed in these patients," the authors conclude.

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